With the Baltimore Ravens coming off of a 9-7 season and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year, it is tough to get a read on how their final record will shake out in 2018. Some analysts like their chances to rebound and be in the playoff hunt, while others see them as a candidate to backslide, since the Ravens face a tougher schedule this season.
A look at the win total Vegas odds makers have set is a way for fans to gauge how the experts view a team. This also includes the option for people to wager on the odds to finish over or under that projected total, which gives a deeper perspective on how the public anticipates the squad to fare against expectations.
Unfortunately, the website OddShark’s does not show a definitive outlook for Baltimore either way, setting their win line at eight flat. However, the Ravens are slightly favored to hit the over at -145, while being set at +125 to be under eight.
This is a pretty middle of the pack viewpoint for a team that’s made some nice offensive upgrades, though it seems fair considering how little they have moved the needle nationally the last several years. For reference, they were one of four teams projected for exactly eight wins along side the Titans, Seahawks and Raiders.
Back in June, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson analyzed the Ravens upcoming season in the context of their win odds. He starts by giving a quick recap of the offseason, including his thoughts on the moves:
“There is a clear “all in” for Ozzie’s final year too. The team went out and spent big at receiver, signing Michael Crabtree (after a potentially disastrous contract for Ryan Grant fell through), Willie Snead and John Brown. It gives them some added speed, albeit veteran speed, at the position. They also added elderly rookie tight end Hayden Hurst, a sure-handed pass catcher and capable blocker, in the first round of the draft. (Ozzie also traded back up for Lamar.)”
Brinson then goes on to look at how a relatively difficult schedule may end up tipping the scales one way or the other for the Ravens:
“Like all the AFC North teams, this is a tough schedule, because both the NFC South and AFC West -- the two best divisions in my opinion -- are on the docket. The Ravens at least get a little reprieve with their opening stretch, drawing the Bills (home), Bengals (road), Broncos (home) and Steelers (road) to start. 3-1 is on the table regardless of who is under center. The Browns and Titans wrap up a three-game road trip, which is always brutal. The Saints (home), Panthers(road) and Steelers (home) is a rough stretch before Baltimore’s schedule before their Week 9 bye. The post-bye sked isn’t easy, but it’s manageable: if Baltimore is struggling on offense with Flacco, or below .500, I would expect to see Lamar at this point. The Bengals and Raiders at home are prime spots to unleash an exciting first-round rookie. The Falcons and Chiefs on the road are much tougher in the next two weeks, and then the Ravens wrap up with the Buccaneers (home), Chargers (road) and Browns (home). You can imagine Jackson ripping off a nice little stretch to close out. And if Flacco’s playing well enough to keep the job, it means Baltimore’s firmly in the playoff hunt.
Brinson ultimately goes on to make his pick, the Ravens hitting the over:
“Might be starting to like the Ravens as a sleeper this year, which is not my M.O. It might depend on the offense and the team staying healthy -- remember, they battled a crazy rash of injuries last year in training camp -- but eight wins seems too low for a team with talent on both sides of the ball, a potentially strong defense and run game and the upside that’s built in with Jackson. VERDICT: OVER (8)”
Brinson’s assessment is a valid one. As much as the schedule should be more difficult, the team will be better this season as the addition of new offensive weapons and a healthy Joe Flacco should make a difference.
Whether or not going over eight wins makes them a playoff team is tough to say. They won nine contests last season, which was not enough for a postseason berth, and the AFC North should prove to be one of the tougher divisions in football this season.
For reference, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati’s win totals are set at 10.5 and 6.5 respectively, with both teams likely to hit the over mark. Cleveland sits at 5.5, which appears high for a team that was win-less last year, but an upgraded Browns roster winning six games would not be all that far fetched.
In the end, quality teams produce even with a tough schedule, and if the Ravens are a strong team, they should be able to take care of business. This does not mean a double digit win total next year is anticipated (due to some of the scheduling gauntlets they will face), but expect them to hit over eight this season.
Is eight a reasonable win over/under for this team? Too high? Too low? Vote below!
How many games do you expect the Ravens to win?
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